Glaus ready for Home Run Derby
Third baseman participating in Derby for second time
KANSAS CITY -- Troy Glaus is a Derby veteran. Toronto's slugging third baseman took part in the event in 2001 and he's leaning on his experience to help him on Monday, when he'll step into the batter's box at PNC Park for this year's Century 21 Home Run Derby, airing on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET.
In 2001, Glaus took 10 swings and learned something from each one of them. He wound up with no home runs and was eliminated in the first round of the annual home run contest. How will that experience help him the second time around? Now, Glaus will know what to expect.
"It's strange. You never hit on the field without a cage," said Glaus, recalling his poor showing in his first Home Run Derby. "It's different. And we don't take batting practice in front of 50,000 people either, where all you're trying to do is hit home runs."
Now that those 10 swings are far behind him, Glaus has a plan heading into Pittsburgh, where he'll be competing against David Ortiz of the Red Sox, Jermaine Dye of the White Sox, Miguel Tejada of the Orioles, Ryan Howard of the Phillies, Miguel Cabrera of the Marlins, Lance Berkman of the Astros, and David Wright of the Mets.
"You've got to just relax and not try to kill the ball -- not try to overswing," Glaus said. "Just take a nice, loose swing. Everybody wants to see the ball go 480 feet, but at the end of the day, that's not what you're trying to do. All you have to do is get it over the wall."
For right-handed hitters like Glaus, hitting it over the wall in Pittsburgh is slightly more challenging than for lefties. At PNC Park, the left-field wall is just 325 feet down the line, but the distance away from home plate increases rapidly to 410 feet in left-center field -- the deepest part of the ballpark.
"It's bigger," Glaus said. "It's not ridiculously big, but yeah, it's bigger."
Belting long home runs hasn't been much of a problem this season for Glaus. Counting his home run on Sunday, he leads the Blue Jays with 23 moon shots, which also ranks first among AL third basemen.
Some Derby participants have brought their own personal pitchers in the past, but Glaus said he isn't sure who he will have throwing to him on Monday. One option is Toronto manager John Gibbons, who often throws batting practice for the Jays and will be in attendance as a coach for the AL.
Gibbons laughed when asked if he'd be throwing to Glaus.
"Not if he wants to hit any homers," Gibbons joked.
Glaus is still waiting for that first Derby blast.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.